After successfully running my first and only marathon at the 2011 GCM, I was ready to “destroy” my PR at the 2012 GCM Half. Long story short, I created my own (dumb) training plan and ran myself info a very painful IT Band injury 3 weeks before the race. I rested/rehabbed and attempted to run the race. After 3 Miles the pain was too much and I dropped out.
I immediately took action to fix whatever caused the issue after the race. Saw a sports doc, did PT, changed my shoes, added strengthening/stabilization exercises, attended Good Form Running, foam rolling, etc… After 6 weeks I was able to run again (5ks), but didn’t fully “figure it out” until Fall 2015 when I successfully trained for and ran Churchill’s.
Fast forward past successfully running the ’16 & ‘17 Churchill’s races and I was ready to take on the GCM Half again. My training was different/smarter now. Everything was going fine, then out of nowhere my IT Band starts hurting 2 weeks before race day. Somehow “it was happening again” I feared. But I had learned a lot since 2012. I immediately shut down my training and focused on rehab. My knee was feeling “ok” but could it go 13.1 without pain, or possibly causing damage? I certainly thought about not even attempting to run, but wanted to at least try. In the end I decide to trust that the changes I made in ’12-‘13 SHOULD allow me to run the race. Also, I’m stubborn.
Race Day: I feel ok, not great. Just “ok”. As I walk across campus and to Corral C, I’m probably overanalyzing my knee on every step. I find a few friendly faces, chat, distract myself, and get ready. Truth be told, I was 90% sure I wouldn’t be able to finish. The race starts and the first 3 miles went fine. I tried to start slow, but was at a low 9 min pace through 4. So far so good. I’m past 3, but when will the issue surface?
I started to feel some slight discomfort at the 4.5 mile mark. I don’t panic, but did wonder if I should just be smart and exit the race. I decide I’ll go till my body tells me to stop. I kept on checking my form, recorrecting, taking breaks for gummies/Powerade, and trying to run relaxed. All things I learned over the years. As each mile passes my optimism grows. When I hit mile 7 (over half way!) and my knee still feels ok, I realize I could possibly make it all 13.1 miles! I get a euphoric boost that propels me to mile 10. With 3 miles to go I knew I had it! Down Dorr to Douglas, then back on campus to the Glass Bowl!
Official time 2:04:10 ✅
I am ECSTATIC! As a runner there’s not much worse than training for a race and not being able to compete due to injury. For me running/finishing GCM ‘18 was as much mental as it was physical. All the changes I made since ’12 paid off, and I used every one of them along the course. I did not run through pain, I avoided aggravating my injury by being technical while also not over thinking it. It was amazing and a bit surprising!
I love running. You learn so much about yourself.
What I’ve leaned since 2012:
Listen to your body
Be smart/cautious, but don’t panic/overreact
Learn and grow from mistakes/failure
Not being able to run the 2012 race really bugged me. I hate to fail and to possibly have the 2018 race go the same way…I just couldn’t. I purposely wore my 2012 race shirt Sunday. Why? Because forget that stuff. Own your failure, learn from it, get over it, and get better.